MoneyGram - Independent review

All you need to know before sending money with MoneyGram

Second largest money transfer network in the world Fast (but often expensive) money transfers

8.10/10 Very good
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MoneyGram review by Monito

MoneyGram is the second-largest money transfer company in the world (after Western Union), allowing people to send and receive cash within minutes in over 350,000 agent locations across the world. You can also send money on or through the MoneyGram mobile app in the US, the UK and Germany, using a debit card, credit card or bank account (US only). In certain countries, your money transfer can be deposited to your recipient’s bank account, mobile wallet or prepaid card; or delivered in cash directly to your recipient’s home.

The company’s large network of agent locations and its availability both online and offline make it a highly convenient service which covers the needs of most people. Its size and long track record also guarantee that your money is safe when sending it with MoneyGram. The downside is that sending MoneyGram can be expensive, as the service can have higher fees and poorer exchange rates than those of specialized online providers.

  • Second largest network of agent locations in the world, allowing cash to be sent and received in 200 countries
  • Money transfers can not only be received in cash but also on bank accounts and mobile wallets
  • Most transactions settle instantly, which makes MoneyGram a good choice for urgent transfers
  • The online service and mobile apps are currently only available in the UK, the US and Germany
  • More expensive than specialized online providers on average

Moneygram has very bad reviews on Trustpilot, with 84% of the 74 customers who have given their feedback rating the company 1 star out of 5. Here is what MoneyGram’s customers have to say:

  • Customers liked the fact that the money was available in minutes at the receiving end of the money transfer.
  • Some say they had a good service despite the high fees.
  • Some customers have seen their transferred cancelled and had problem to get their money back.
  • A few customers have had bad experiences with an unfriendly Moneygram customer service representative.
  • Customers found cheaper alternatives to Moneygram and stopped using the service.
  • Some were annoyed by the verification process to identify themselves (which Moneygram is required to perform by law).

Note: Moneygram is not inviting its users to share their experience with Trustpilot which could partially explain the extremely high proportion of bad ratings. The 1/10 rating might not be representative due to the low number of reviews.

Can I trust MoneyGram?

Until 2017, MoneyGram International Inc. was a publicly-traded company on the Nasdaq Stock Market with a $680 million market capitalization. It was then acquired by the Ant Financial Services Group, the payments arm of the Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba. Ant Financial is an enormous company, powering the majority of online payments in China and valued at $60 billion at the time of its acquisition of MoneyGram. Working together as one with Ant Financial will significantly strengthen MoneyGram and its ability to build a robust global corporation.

MoneyGram has close to 3000 employees worldwide, the majority of which are located outside the US in the 30 countries where the company has offices. With a track record of close to 80 years, the company has acquired and demonstrates a significant expertise in the money transfer industry. MoneyGram has built its reputation through the quality of its service, which provides a convenient and safe way to send money to or from nearly every country in the world. The MoneyGram brand is recognized and trusted globally, thanks in part to its network of agent locations which, apart from Western Union’s, is unmatched by any of its competitors.

MoneyGram is subject to a wide range of laws and regulations of countries around the world. MoneyGram is licensed in all 50 US states, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. In the UK, MoneyGram is licensed as an Authorized Payment Institution under the European Union Payment Services Directive, which allows MoneyGram to provide payment services throughout the European Economic Area. Many other jurisdictions which MoneyGram operates in impose licensing or other regulatory requirements. These include minimum capital requirements, compliance with operational procedures, agent oversight and maintenance of reserves, and are are specifically designed to protect consumers’ funds. MoneyGram takes its regulatory compliance very seriously, and invest on average $50 million a year into its compliance program.

So, is MoneyGram safe to use? Absolutely. MoneyGram couldn’t be the second largest money transfer provider in the world if it didn’t adequately protect its customers’ funds.

How MoneyGram works

How to send money online with MoneyGram

  1. Enter the recipient’s full name and country, and choose how the money should be received.
  2. Enter the amount you wish to send, and you will see the fees and exchange rate which currently apply for your transaction.
  3. Enter your payment information as well as your personal details, including your name, postal and email address, phone number, and date of birth. MoneyGram may need to verify your identity with an official document. If you already have a MoneyGram account and have supplied this information before, you can skip this step by simply logging into your account.
  4. Review the transaction details including the fees and exchange rate, and if everything looks good, click the Submit Transaction button.
  5. You will receive an email confirmation including a reference number which your recipient will need to pick up the money.

How to send money at an agent location with MoneyGram

  1. Find a MoneyGram agent location near you, and make sure to bring your ID with you.
  2. Whether through a kiosk touch screen or on a paper form, you will need to supply your full name, your recipient’s name and location, and the amount you wish to send. Depending on the receive option you choose, you will also need to provide other information such as your recipient’s bank account details or telephone number.
  3. You will then be able to pay for you transfer. In most cases, cash is the only accepted form of payment.
  4. You will receive a reference number which your recipient will need to pick up the money.

MoneyGram Exchange Rate & Fees

MoneyGram fees

MoneyGram fees generally vary depending on the amount sent, the send and receive countries, as well as the payment and receive methods. Here are a few simple rules of thumb for saving on fees with MoneyGram:

    • When sending money online with MoneyGram, it’s best to pay by bank transfer if this is available.
    • Sending to a bank account is usually less expensive than sending money for cash pick-up.
    • If you are sending money to a bank account, it is often cheaper to send at an agent location than online, regardless of the payment method used.
    • If you are sending money for cash pick-up, the online service will generally be cheaper than sending money at an agent location, but only if you pay by bank transfer.

MoneyGram exchange rates

MoneyGram applies the standard practice of taking a margin on the exchange rate. What that means is that the exchange rate offered to MoneyGram customers is not as good as the real mid-market exchange rate, and MoneyGram profits from this difference. While this generally costs you a couple percentage points of the amount you are sending, the exchange rate margin can sometimes exceed 5%. Since some money transfer services are able to offer exchange rates without any margin and save you plenty of money, it’s very important to always compare all available money transfer services before sending money abroad.

Send money from your Smartphone with MoneyGram

Mobile apps

MoneyGram’s mobile app is available on both Google Android and Apple iOS, but only in the UK, the US and Germany for the time being. The MoneyGram app lets you send money and pay bills as if you were on the MoneyGram website or at an agent location. Other features of the app include the ability to track past transactions, estimate fees or find agent locations for future transactions, and manage your account. While the app is rated 3.8 / 5 on the Google Play Store, it is only awarded a 1.7 / 5 rating on the Apple App Store due to issues with money transfers made through the app.



Additional services

Bill payment

MoneyGram’s bill payment service allows you to pay your relatives’ bills or your own from thousands of companies. The service is available in nearly all agent locations across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as in certain agent locations in select countries in Europe and the Caribbean.

Money orders

Money orders were the first service which MoneyGram offered when it was founded in 1940. While the company still offers this service today, it only represents a tiny share of their business (representing 3.6% of the company’s total revenues in 2015). The service, which is only available at certain agent locations across the US, is basically a prepaid check which you can deliver by mail or in person to the recipient.

Mobile top-up

Through its partner TransferTo, MoneyGram lets you top up prepaid mobile phones of more than 350 mobile carriers in over 100 countries around the world. This is a great way to ensure that you and your relatives abroad are able to stay in touch. Mobile top-ups are available at MoneyGram agent locations in the US, but can be sent online from any country in the world.

The story behind MoneyGram

MoneyGram International was born out of the merger of Travelers Express from Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Integrated Payment Systems from Denver, Colorado. The former company was founded in 1940, and became the largest processor of money orders (a paper instrument like a cheque but paid upfront) in the world. Integrated Payment Systems, which launched the MoneyGram brand in 1988, was part of a larger group of payment companies belonging to American Express (best known for their credit cards).

In 1998, Travelers Express and Integrated Payment Systems merged, and the resulting company went public in 2004 under the name MoneyGram International. In 2017, MoneyGram International was acquired by Ant Financial Services Group, the payments arm of the Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba, for $880 million.

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Key facts about MoneyGram

Service information

Time to open an account A few minutes
Pay-in options Credit card
Debit card
Bank Account
Pay-out options Cash
Bank account
Cash home delivery
Mobile wallet
Minimum amount No
Maximum amount Yes
Can you transfer from your mobile? Yes
Available languages
Personnal transfers Yes
Business customers No
Advanced currency contracts No
Required documents ID, Proof of Address

Company information

Type of service provider Global money transfer operators
Active since 1996
Headquarter Dallas, Texas, United States
Regulated by FCA

Contact information

Contact support
Service hour 24/7
Phone 1‑800‑926‑9400
Twitter @moneygramme
Facebook moneygram